With mankind’s first uncertain steps into the atomic age comes a warning from beyond the stars: cease your fighting and your wars or you will be destroyed. “The decision rests with you,” Klaatu says by way of farewell at the end of “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” a classic of Cold War science-fiction from 1951.
Fifty years later and Klaatu has a new message for humanity, but one with equally dire consequences should we choose to ignore it, Keanu Reeves, who is playing the alien in Scott Derrickson’s upcoming remake, told MTV News.
“The first one was borne out of the cold war and nuclear détente. Klaatu came and was saying cease and desist with your violence. If you can’t do it yourselves we’re going to do it. That was the film of that day,” Reeves explained. “The version I was just working on, instead of being man against man, it’s more about man against nature. My Klaatu says that if the Earth dies, you die. If you die, the earth survives. I’m a friend to the earth.”
While humanity still engages in a staggering number of international conflicts, the environmental message is one that, not only encompasses wars, and fights, and terrorism, but one that goes beyond constrictions to become a millennial message of “what we are doing and who we are as a species,” Reeves insisted. “We’re trying to reach beyond the idea of [just] environmentalism.”
Among the other changes in the film, none may be more radical than Gort, Klaatu’s robot companion (or leader in some versions), that, let’s face it, looked like the tin-man in 1951. FX should change that, right?
“Hey man, don’t put that tin man down! That was iconoclastic!” Reeves protested. “[But] yes, we have another version of the [robot].”
One thing that won’t change? According to Reeves, he still says the immortal words, “Klaatu barada nikto.”
How does “The Day the Earth Stood Still” speak to you? What do you make of the new Earth friendly message? Sound off below.